Transforming failures into opportunities is that key feature characterizing successful people. They are not successful because they make no mistakes. Exactly the opposite. And it is crucial to raise children to be curious and determined, especially when they are wrong. In this article on “Child education” we will talk about the positive attitude and harmful praise – yes, there is such thing.

Nurturing a positive attitude towards failure in children – how?

This story sounds familiar to many parents:

The sound of paper tearing cuts the air like a knife.

“I can’t do anything right!” The child shouts angrily and tears well up in her eyes.

Minutes earlier, the mother had left her five-year-old daughter in the living room to work on her kindergarten homework – a seabed of colored clippings. After several unsuccessful attempts to cut fish and starfish through the contour and some glue-spreading on the table, the tension rises.

She is furiously destroying everything created so far. No calming parent words can reach through her crossed arms.

The child was wrong.

Children and failures.

The fact is that the daughter took the “all or nothing” approach in a very natural way.

It turns out that this focus on being perfect is not limited to a certain age, but is something that teachers at all grades often see.

After receiving negative feedback on their academic performance students with “fixed” thinking are more likely to make general summaries of their mistakes. For example, they might say, “I’m just not good at science.” Or, “I’m not smart when it comes to these things.” However, students with attitude for growth are more likely to accept and learn from the negative feedback. They see the feedback as a sign that they need to try harder, that they have not yet mastered the content, as a sign that they need to spend more time working on that matter. In addition, they see these failures as opportunities for growth.

And what should parents do?

Fortunately, there are many basic and highly effective parenting strategies that parents and teachers can apply.

“If parents want to make a gift for their children the best thing they can do is teach them to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy their efforts and keep learning. That way, their children should not be focused on the need of praise.” – Dr. Carol Dweck.

Parents lay the foundations of positive attitude in children.

When a child fails a test, stumbles on a poem for school or is not selected for a school play, then opportunities for learning resilience show. It is important that you approach failure in a positive way. For example, “Did you fail the test? Don’t worry, failure is not permanent, it is a momentary reminder for you to try harder.” Anger, shame and punishments have no place here. Instead, parents can use this opportunity to see the potential for nurturing persistence and motivation for growth.

In fact, failure can be a powerful stimulation for change. By changing the way both parents and children see and perceive a task.

No matter what the challenges are, work harder.

The way parents praise their children influences the way children approach failure.

The standard assumption is that all praise is good.

And while there may be some truth in this idea, not all praise has the same effect. Research has found that the way parents praise their children directly determines their children’s abilities to cope with tasks.

Many parents believe that it is important to tell their children how capable they are. However, research shows something different. Children who receive praise for their personal qualities are more likely to set goals, cope with challenges, and strive to learn more. This means that children benefit more from compliments such as: “Well done for the effort, your worked so hard for this!”, instead of “You are very good at writing / drawing / cutting”.

In addition, these studies conclude that educating through praise for specific effort leads students to think about future growth. So, instead of saying something like “Great job!” Or “You’re very smart!”, parents can say, “I’m proud of you! You focused and succeeded!”, or “Well done, you invested so much effort and did it! ”

Finally, parents can help their children by inviting them to try a different approach or consider the next step.

This is much more useful than just saying “Try again!”. Or “Don’t be childish, you can do it alone.”

Regardless of the child’s age, there is hope.

Parents and children only need to make simple adjustments to the way they respond to challenges, including academic ones. These small changes in our way of thinking will pay off many times over.

You can read quotes to the children, which will further strengthen the positive attitude towards mistakes.

“If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen

“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” – Zig Ziglar

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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